Tennis

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime off to strong start at Barcelona Open

Felix Auger-Aliassime is off to the third round of the Barcelona Open after the No. 16 seed from Montreal beat Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-3, 7-6 (7) at the ATP Tour 500 clay-court event on Wednesday.

Outcome not so good for pal Shapovalov, who loses early for 2nd tournament in a row

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime, pictured competing at the recent Monte-Carlo Masters, downed Malek Jaziri of Tunisia in second-round play on Wednesday at the Barcelona Open. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime is off to the third round of the Barcelona Open.

The No. 16 seed from Montreal beat Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-3, 7-6 (7) at the ATP Tour 500 clay-court event on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime, who got a first-round bye, will face No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan in the third round on Thursday.

Auger-Aliassime, ranked 31st in the world, won 77 per cent of his points on first serve, as compared to 62 per cent for the 72nd-ranked Jaziri.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime into 3rd round:

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime beats Malek Jaziri 6-3, 7-6 (7). 1:00

Meanwhile, No. 9 seed Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., lost 7-5, 6-2 Cristian Garin of Chile.

It was the second loss in a row to open a tournament for Shapovalov since his run to the semifinals at the Miami Open last month.

Garin, ranked 48th, had the big edge in first-serve points won, capitalizing on 78 per cent of his opportunities as compared to 57 per cent for Shapovalov.

WATCH | Shapovalov upset:

Canada's Denis Shapovalov falls to Cristian Garin 7-5, 6-2. 1:05

Elsewhere Wednesday, Rafael Nadal recovered from a slow start to defeat Leonard Mayer 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-2 and advance to the third round, keeping alive his streak of never losing consecutive matches on clay.

The second-ranked Nadal was coming off a loss in the semifinals of the Monte-Carlo Masters, when he was eliminated by Fabio Fognini.

An 11-time champion in Barcelona, Nadal will next play fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.

The top-seeded Nadal squandered two set points after exchanging breaks late in the first set. He rebounded quickly by breaking Mayer's serve in the first game of the second set, then cruised to victory against the 63rd-ranked Argentine.

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